Section 2: ‘Mister’ Toad’s Wild Ride
CONCEPT REPORT (EXT.)
What do we really know about Toad? Not as much as you might first believe considering he has appeared constantly as Mario and Luigi’s sidekick. He is from the mushroom kingdom, his people are called the Mushroom People (or kinoko-zoku in Japan) and he appears frequently in Mario games to assist the brother’s in their quest. He is also one of the most popular game characters in Nintendo’s history and amongst gamers in general. So why doesn’t he have his own spinoff series? Surely there is an interesting backstory to Toad and how he came to meet the Super Mario Bros, Princess Peach and why he hates the Koopas. There doesn’t seem to be any real explanation from Nintendo as to why this became the case. It appears he is considered a sidekick and nothing more. Perhaps Toad could have a dream – that he is the super hero and Mario is his sidekick. Maybe he is just too shy and scared to admit that he wants to be a hero someday. Even if he never blossoms, I’m sure he will continue to pop in the game series to assist Mario whenever he needs help. In the meantime, the theme park could use a little more of Toad.
As alluded to in the title, Toad deserves to at least have a ride or two named after him. This is a little difficult when his backstory has never been thoroughly examined. Where is he going? What is his goal? Does he have some sort of secret mission? How does he plan on getting any help he might need? Is he a spy or does he have some other special training, like martial arts? Did he ally with the Super Mario Bros to eventually take on a bigger threat? Or simply to take on Bowser? We don’t really have answers to these questions. What we do know is that he has been cast primarily as a helper, seemingly joining the Super Mario Bros for the sole purpose of helping to defeat Bowser. It seems that he is just someone who wants to restore peace. And that is noble.
TOAD’S ULTIMATE PURPOSE
Maybe Toad’s ultimate purpose should be kept simple. Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe it’s all we need. So, who could Toad be in the context set out by Nintendo? Well, I have an idea. Toad is a peaceful person, dedicated to protecting Mushroom Kingdom. He doesn’t believe in aggression, nor does he want to fight. He is a shield, not a weapon. A protector, in every sense of the word. It’s possible that one day this concept will be explored in the form of a Mushroom Shield, which Toad will use to block attacks and beat down Goombas, not unlike Marvel’s Captain America. It would help to cement his place as a meek character. After all, his role would continue to be helping the Super Mario Bros. while adding in superior defense and a role as a protector. All these things are the preferences of meek, peaceful people who believe in restraint as a way of living. It is mentioned on wikipedia that Toad is a loyal attendant of Princess Peach – could he be a Knight? A kind of special Mushroom Soldier? A Mushroom Protector? Maybe there is more to him than meets the eye.
CHARACTER STORY ARC
As far as his own game series goes, it could explore Toad as a peaceful protector of Mushroom Kingdom allowing him to grow as a character. It doesn’t have to be a super hero’s backstory – just the backstory of an inspired individual. He could literally have been a humble farmer, growing crops and yes, mushrooms. Perhaps his humility is a defining feature. Even without fear, he will always be the unassuming, meek person we have all come to love. He could simply prefer to use the least amount of force necessary to defeat Bowser – it’s just who he is as a person. After all, with great strength comes great responsibility – do no harm.
This could be his core philosophy. It would allow his character to keep his role as a sidekick because his skills could be developed around that philosophy, which would place a unique constraint on him: he is a defensive specialist/protector and nothing more. Perhaps it is a Mushroom Kingdom code that he is sworn to because of past wars or conflict. A promise to disavow aggression. It’s how they live. It’s why he opposes Bowser. Whatever the eventual backstory of Toad, I’m sure Nintendo will do well. But I kind of like the idea of Toad the Protector. It’s noble, pure and good. Just like Toad himself?
While I don’t really believe that Nintedo will actively explore Toad’s backstory, I think it would be fascinating to cast him as I suggested – a Free-Thinker. It would enrich Super Mario World in so many ways. In the meantime, one or two rides at the theme park wouldn’t hurt.
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